The original run of “NYX” was born under a cloud of controversy that stretches as far back as 2001. During its run, it faced massive delays and artistic changes that saw seven issues released over a two year period before the series finished. Nonetheless, it remains a fan-favorite and is mostly notable for bringing X-23 into the Marvel Universe following her debut in the “X-Men: Evolution” cartoon series.
The follow-up has been a long time in the making, and has something of an uphill struggle against an arguably tainted brand name. More worryingly, the series doesn’t even feature X-23, who is inarguably the franchise’s most recognizable face. The brave souls charged with turning “NYX” back into a sellable concern are novelist Marjorie Liu, and iCandy co-creator Kalman Andrasofszky — both relative newcomers, compared to the heavyweight team of Quesada and Middleton that launched the title.
So, have they pulled it off?
The answer, against all odds, is a solid “yes.” Dispensing with much of the faux-gritty elements of the first series leaves this one in a much better position to tell realistic stories about street-level mutants, all of whom appear to have survived M-Day unscathed (funny, that.) The issue focuses mostly on Kiden, but reintroduces the rest of the cast at the same time — it’s a fairly cursory visitation which doesn’t go into too much detail, but it establishes enough about the characters that they work in this issue. Whether they needed more of an introduction than that or not is still to be seen, but based on the first issue’s confident story strokes it seems unlikely that you’ll be required to read the original “NYX” to understand the characters (though it couldn’t hurt.)
Artistically it’s not a million miles away from the look of the previous series, re-capturing the urban environment and youthful, stylish characters perfectly. The coloring is fantastic, and even the word balloons have been softened to keep each page looking beautiful. It’s a move many other comics could learn from, and you only have to look at how the word balloons jar with Ariel Olivetti’s artwork over in “Cable” to see this more integrated, unifying style as a plus.
Far better than it should’ve been, “NYX: No Way Home” sets the series up as something along the lines of (but not entirely identical to) “Runaways” — not exactly a bad place to start. An impressive opening salvo from a team of fairly modest profile, and one that looks like it’ll provide an entertaining read over the course of the series.